Hot Stone Healing
Winding down at the Windsor Court
Cheryl Gerber photos
Despite the mild winter, dry air, holidays, Carnival season and the daily business of life in general have a way of wreaking havoc on body and mind. If winding down from all of that isn’t enough of a good reason to get a massage, the impending arrival of Valentine’s Day seals the deal. There are few better ways to show you care than a day at the spa and an 80-minute hot stone massage, $210, at the Windsor Court (300 Gravier St., 596-4736, WindsorCourtHotel.com/Spa). Involving the expert application of heated volcanic rocks, hot oil and Swedish massage, it’s perfect for the person who needs a little extra pampering. (Note: This service was provided complimentary, sans gratuity.)
Fetching me from a cozy chair in the plush relaxation room, the massage therapist leads me to the darkened treatment room. After choosing the orange aromatherapy oil and upgrading to coconut oil (which is more moisturizing than typical massage oils), I’m sinking into the heated massage table listening to the soundtrack of crashing waves, as the therapist places hot towels and heat-retaining volcanic stones on my back. Heat from the stones is said to aid in relaxing the muscles, resulting in a deeper, more beneficial massage session. The therapist gently presses my skin through the blankets to acclimate me to the feeling of touch, then she uncovers my arm and begins to massage the hot coconut oil into my skin and muscles. She repeats the process for my other arm, legs and feet, before making her way to my back. The smooth, hot stones are employed throughout the process. I especially enjoyed her practice of placing a hot stone in my hand while it wasn’t in use.
By the time I’m instructed to flip on my back, I’ve already caught myself drifting off. This indicates to me – one who has never fallen asleep during a massage – that the hot stones do aid in relaxation. The therapist incorporates a little of the light stretching of the arms and legs typical with Swedish-style massage and I continue to melt into the table. The head and facial massage at the end feel like a bonus.
From the quiet room, low nature sounds and music to the aromatherapy, warm table, towels, oils and blankets and healing touch of the therapist, everything about this treatment is restorative. Unlike many massages, rather than wanting to take a nap afterward, I come out feeling refreshed and energized.